Jais: Selangor has no right to change SOPs

The Jais raid was carried at BSM’s office in accordance with a 1988 state law that bans non-Muslims from using the Arabic word. — Picture by Choo Choy May
The Jais raid was carried at BSM’s office in accordance with a 1988 state law that bans non-Muslims from using the Arabic word. — Picture by Choo Choy May

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KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 10 — The Selangor government cannot compel the state Islamic Religious Department (Jais) to seek its permission before conducting a raid, an official with the authority has said.

According to a report on Berita Harian today, Jais enforcement officer Salehuddin Saidin said there are no provisions or regulations governing Jais that requires the department to seek approval or to inform the state of its actions.

“Just like the police. When they are in the midst of an enforcement operation, they should act based on the power given, they are supposed to be free to independent and they don’t have to wait for orders from any executive arm,” he said. 

As an enforcement unit, the department is “free to act on public complaints” in accordance with its legislation, said Salehuddin. 

“As for Jais, the enforcement involves issues related to Islamic affairs… and according to the federal constitution and state laws this falls under Sultan of Selangor,” said Salehuddin.

Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim had ordered the department to inform the state of its raid after the surprise raid on the Bible Society of Malaysia last week, where over 300 bibles containing the word “Allah” were confiscated.

At a press conference on Wednesday, the state chief also said the standard operating procedures (SOP) for Jais have been revised so that future raids can only be carried out after approval from the Selangor government.

He added that a “joint discussion” involving the state exco, Jais and the Selangor Islamic Religious Council —  which reports directly to the state sultan — must be held in the future.

The Jais raid, which reignited religious tensions over the “Allah” issue, was carried at BSM’s office in accordance with a 1988 state law that bans non-Muslims from using the Arabic word.

The Selangor Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation Among Muslims) Enactment 1988 prohibits non-Muslims in Selangor from using 35 Arabic words and phrases in their faith, including “Allah”, “Nabi” (prophet), “Injil” (gospel) and “Insya’Allah” (God willing).

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